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Caught In A Lie: Scandal Surrounding Carlos Curbelo’s Lobbying Clients Intensifies

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The scandal surrounding Carlos Curbelo’s repeated refusal to disclose his lobbying clients is intensifying – with a new report in the Miami Herald revealing that campaign finance reports contradict Curbelo’s claim that his wife owns his lobbying firm.

The federal reports list Curbelo as the “Owner,” “Principal” and “President” of his lobbying firm. By claiming the company belongs to his wife, Curbelo has attempted to avoid disclosing his clients – and any potential conflict of interest on the School Board. Previously, the Miami New Times reported that Curbelo “has a history of approving contracts for campaign donors” on the School Board.

“Carlos Curbelo’s excuse for refusing to disclose his lobbying clients has been exposed for exactly what it is: a deceptive attempt to avoid revealing potential conflicts of interests with his work on the School Board,” said Joshua Karp of the Florida Democratic Party. “It’s just another example of how Curbelo is putting his own political ambitions over South Floridians – which is exactly why he can’t be trusted in Congress.”

Here’s a quick recap of Curbelo’s developing scandal so far:

  • Curbelo’s Republican Opponent Asked Why He Wouldn’t Disclose His Clients. OnThis Week in South Florida, Curbelo’s Republican opponent Ed MacDougall highlighted how Curbelo is hiding his lobbying clients by listing his lobbying company in his wife’s name, asking “who are his clients,” and “why is this not coming out.” [This Week in South Florida, 8/17/14]
  • Local Political Commentator Criticized Curbelo’s Failure to Answer Questions About His Lobbying. On This Week in South Florida, local political commentator Elaine de Valle of Political Cortadito criticized Curbelo for refusing to answer questions about his lobbying firm and Curbelo’s potential conflicts of interest on the School Board, stating “we don't know how many of his clients are doing business with the school board” and it appears Curbelo “is trying to keep who his clients are from the public.” [This Week in South Florida, 8/17/14]
  • … But Curbelo Refused to Disclose His Lobbying Clients. In a Spanish language interview on Mira TV, Curbelo called demands to have him disclose his clients an injustice, and would not reveal his clients. [Prohibido Callarse, 8/20/14]
  • … Even When Asked Directly by a Reporter and His Republican Opponents. OnFacing South Florida, Curbelo continued to refuse to disclose his clients at Capitol Gains after pressure from moderator Jim DeFede and his Republican primary opponents. [Facing South Florida, 8/24/14]
  • Curbelo Said If Anyone Had a Complaint, They Should File It. On Facing South Florida, Curbelo said: “If someone thinks I’m doing something wrong they can file a complaint. We have a state ethics commission, we have law enforcement agencies. I have been transparent in all my work and if anyone has a compliant, file it.” [Facing South Florida, 8/24/14]
  • After The Primary, Curbelo Said He Had No Plans to Disclose His Client List. The Miami Herald reported: “He said he still has no plans to disclose his client list, saying they are common knowledge because he has been their voice in public, usually as a Spanish-language media spokesman or, in the case of Malaysian casino giant Genting, as a lobbyist… GOP primary opponents Curbelo handily defeated Tuesday had said he should disclose his clients because, as a sitting Miami-Dade County School Board member, some of the clients might do business with the public school district.” [Miami Herald, 8/29/14]
  • Local Political Commentator: Someone Should Investigate. In response to the Miami Herald’s story, local political commentator Elaine de Valle wrote: “Some law enforcement agency — the State Attorney’s Office comes to mind — should investigate. Because he’s done nothing illegal by not disclosing his clients. But he may be doing something illegal by representing them if they benefit from his position on the school board. Subpoenas for his bank records would show where the checks and deposits are coming from. Because it would be really easy for him to take checks from people he helps smooth things over with at the School Board. Because nobody would know.” [Political Cortadito, 8/29/14]